“I am wired for work. I am wired for business,” says Somer Phoebus, co-founder of SWHW. For Somer, it’s both the friendships and challenges in the workplace that spark that excitement.
But mostly, it's just how God wired her.
Growing up in church, Somer learned to straddle two worlds. One foot in her ‘secular’ workplace – problem-solving and making good ideas better – and the other firmly planted in the world of faith and ‘ministry.’ But this balancing act wasn’t easy.
As a Jesus follower, she often felt torn between the two worlds, unable to fully embrace who she was and what God made her to do in either.
“I remember hearing this verse about being set apart (Hebrews 10:10) and I believed that ‘set apart’ (was) a literal setting away,” Somer shares. So, she taught herself to compartmentalize. One person at work and another at home or church, Somer wrestled with what it meant to be a Jesus follower in the workplace.
“I believed the extent of my ministry was inviting people to church. I never fully understood that I was in ministry at work.”
Michelle’s background is in the fitness industry, working closely with people from all different walks of life. However, she didn’t immediately make the connection between her God-given wiring and kingdom impact in her workplace.
“As it turns out, where there are people, there are gospel opportunities,” Michelle would discover. But God had a good bit of relearning for her to do first.
“I don't think I saw the workplace as a mission field until I truly wrapped my head around the gospel,” she says.
The first step? “I had to say no, to what I thought a call to ministry looked like: go to seminary, graduate, (then) work at a church.” God’s desire for his people is so much bigger than a one-size-fits-all route to ‘ministry,’ Michelle explains.
When it came to her job, Michelle realized that God had intentionally placed her in the fitness industry, in that season, for a kingdom purpose. It was in this setting, that Michelle got to reflect her Creator while doing a job that she loved and was uniquely wired to do.
“Instead of seeing this as just my job and this over here as my ministry, I realized these (things) are not separate,” she says.
Michelle and Somer quickly discovered that women in many stages of life and career were actively wrestling with these same questions. What began as a group of friends meeting together, going into God’s Word, encouraging and challenging each other to be kingdom-minded in the workplace, grew into the She Works His Way online community of working women who love Jesus.
“Over the years, we've just invited more women into that conversation,” says Michelle.
It’s being a reflection of Jesus wherever you are – be that in your workplace, church, community, neighborhood, or home. It’s also being available and recognizing that God is already at work in these places.
“God has been planting seeds in hearts… and I’m just making myself available to be one more seed,” Michelle says. “Sometimes I get to be the one to share, and sometimes I’m just the seed. But regardless, God is using it.”
Read more in Part 2.
For more from Somer and Michelle, be sure to check out She Works His Way and join in the conversation.
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Written by Kristin Boyd